Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Published 2 Years Ago on Tuesday, Dec 08 2020 By Yehia El Amine
Scammers, hackers, and fraudsters have attempted to exploit our lack of knowledge both on and offline. Unfortunately, senior citizens have been on the short end of the stick for a while, making them the most targeted groups among all others.
A report published by Deloitte estimates that scammers steal almost $2.9 billion per year from seniors along. The main reason elders have a huge target painted on their backs is mainly due to being less familiar with technology.
These senior citizens are usually approached in a myriad of ways such via telephone, in person conversations, or online through emails, or various social media platforms.
According to a report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), senior citizens are particularly vulnerable to certain types of fraud. Scammers prey on the elderly for a variety of reasons.
Let’s jump right in.
Fraudsters target elders for the same reason banks get robbed: that’s where the money is.
Everything from life savings, bank accounts, mortgages, or social security, as most elders tend to own their own homes. According to a 2017 Federal Reserve study, the average net worth for American households headed by someone age 65 and older is $1.067 million — 1.5 times as high as the average for all households.
However, it’s not always well-off elders aren’t always the main prey for scammers. A 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation report calculates that 14 percent of all seniors are living in poverty. Scams that target the elderly take in many people living on fixed incomes who can’t afford the financial loss.
Be them rich, poor, or belong to the middle class, its not a secret that senior citizens are lonely and yearn for companionship. The older these senior citizens become, the more likely they’ll be isolated due to their friends and families either dying or move into nursing homes.
This yearn for companionship makes them easy prey for con artists, which gives them an easier way to worm their way into someone’s trust for illicit reasons.
One needs to keep in mind, that the baby boomer generation (or people born in or before the 1960s) are usually more inclined to trust strangers, as their upbringing taught them to be polite, while assuming that others are being honest.
This makes them less willing to interrupt a sales pitch or hang up on a scammer.
According to a 2018 report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), senior citizens are more likely to report scams than younger people. However, con artists know that even if their elderly victims report the crime, there’s a good chance they won’t remember the details.
This causes problems with local law enforcement, as elders find it difficult to provide detailed descriptions to help track down the perpetrators, especially if a certain time period has passed since the victims were conned.
The most common scamming tactic is by approaching the victim with something that they need, such as Social Security or healthcare, and fake investments in the hopes of cashing on some retirement money.
With the elderly population growing and seniors racking up more than $3 billion in losses annually, elder fraud is likely to be a growing problem, this has attracted the attention of many law enforcements agencies around the world.
There are several common ways scammers can attempt to fool senior citizens; to combat this ongoing trend, the FBI has named June 15 to be the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of older adults who experience elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
In parallel, the FBI compiled a list of schemes that the elderly need to keep an eye for to evade being conned.
Protecting one’s self from a scam can be easy to debunk, it just needs a little patience and research; thus, according to the FBI here are the most optimal ways of seeing through the lies and deceitfulness of scammers:
The key to unravelling a scam if your loved one has been approached by a con artist is to make them feel comfortable enough to talk about, since most senior citizens feel embarrassed to talk about or report the crime.
Talking about the matter not only helps them understand the matter even more, but also aids local law enforcement to contain any potential damage that may have occurred, or if they’re lucky enough prevent it all together.
As technological advancements keep emerging, hackers, scammers and the like will always find more sophisticated ways of tricking us, which is why we must remain vigilant regarding our online activities, while constantly educating ourselves and our elderly loved ones to evade these malicious online behaviors.
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